Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nagraj Vs. Shakoora The Magician



Because you know that you have to see it now...

Comic Art - a set on Flickr

Eric Reynolds has posted scans of drawing made in his convention sketchbook by a variety of comic artists. (Hint: Click on the link above to see the Flickr set)

Alex Ross on The Black Terror

He was a popular comic book character throughout the bulk of the 1940s, and if Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Mike Lily have their way, the Black Terror will be again.

As we’ve reported, Dynamite’s Project Superpowers universe will grow beginning in October as the Black Terror spins out of the main story into his own series, plotted by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger with pencils by Mike Lily , and covers and art direction by Ross.

As readers of Project Superpowers know, the Black Terror has been quite active...well, quite active since bring released from the magical urn that the Fighting Yank was tricked into trapping his allies in decades ago. Since his release, Terror has been shown to be more powerful than he ever was, and...edgy. He’s angry and confused both at what happened and the modern world he’s found himself in, and also, is desperate to find any hint of his sidekick Tim.

Torchwood Begins Season 3 Fliming

Filming for the third season of BBC AMERICA’s highest rated series ever, Torchwood, has begun in Cardiff, Wales. From creator Russell T Davis (writer of Doctor Who, Queer as Folk), the hit sci-fi series is scheduled to return in 2009 with the third installment titled Torchwood: Children of Earth.

The new season sees the Torchwood team embarking on a single action-packed adventure as they battle for the future of the human race against the fiercest force they have encountered.

The highly-motivated team is John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper and Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones. Other regular cast involved in their high-octane adventure are Kai Owen as Rhys Williams, Gwen's husband, and Tom Price as PC Andy.

Special guests in the five part series are Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who, The Thick Of It, Skins), who plays the role of Mr. Frobisher – a civil servant who is hiding a terrible secret, Paul Copely (Coronation Street, The Bill) as Clem – the survivor still haunted by his past, and Liz May Brice (Bad Girls, The Bill) as Johnson – the cynical covert government agent determined to expose Torchwood.

Russell T Davies said, 'The new series of Torchwood is hugely bold and promises to be bigger and better than ever – the audience is in for an amazing ride. This series is one big serial and the most ambitious story we've ever made, and we've got plenty of surprises in store.'

Julie Gardner, Head of Drama, BBC Wales, said, 'We hope to make Torchwood a gripping and surprising TV event with storylines that push our team into greater danger and sacrifice. Joining our main cast are some fantastic guest artists who will only add to making this unmissable TV.'

On September 16, 2008, BBC Video unleashes to U.S. stores, Torchwood: The Complete Second Season, a fully-loaded 5-disc DVD set with over three hours of bonus features ranging from deleted scenes and outtakes to Torchwood Declassified featurettes and more.

This past April, both Seasons One and Two of Torchwood debuted in the Top 10 for 'Top TV Seasons' on the iTunes Store and continue to be a hit for the online digital store.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Digital Savant: A different perspective

Because my job is to pay attention to Twitter, to blog regularly and to try to figure out when online trends are important enough to write about, I sometimes forget that there are people who see the bulk of what I do as a waste of mine and everybody else’s time.

Texans should be watching Gustav, forecaster says

Hopefully we will be further North at the time and miss the worst of this storm. Isn't moving fun?

Tropical Storm Gustav, which has been slow to leave Haiti, has a chance to hit some southeastern counties in Texas as a powerful hurricane as early as Monday.

Virgin Comics Shuts NYC Offices

NEW YORK, NY, August 26, 2008 Virgin Comics announced today that it will be reorganizing its operations and closing its New York office to consolidate in an LA base.

The Company is currently working with management to restructure the business and will release its future plans in the next few weeks.

Sharad Devarajan, CEO, said, 'We remain excited about the business and partnerships we have built through Virgin Comics and are working towards a restructuring that properly takes the business forward. The decision to scale down the New York operations and concentrate on core activities is due to the current macro-economic downturn and is in no way a reflection on the dedicated and valuable employees we have had the privilege to work with.'

Heavy Gear to Return to Roleplaying

Dream Pod 9 and Steve Jackson Games announced an agreement today for a new line of roleplaying products based on DP9's best-selling Heavy Gear.

'The world of Heavy Gear was always intended to support multiple gaming formats,' said Robert Dubois, Licensing Manager for Dream Pod 9. 'We've focused our efforts on the miniatures line, with Heavy Gear Blitz! We are overjoyed that a publisher with the experience of Steve Jackson Games is interested in continuing the RPG material.'

The line will launch with a new edition of Heavy Gear, bringing the Silhouette mechanics to their fourth edition. This core game will contain everything needed to create characters and roleplay in the world of Heavy Gear. Further releases will update Heavy Gear's best-known places and personalities, bringing the story up to date with the miniatures line. New releases will explore military hardware, locations, factions, and the whole universe in greater detail than ever before. The line will primarily be released in PDF via e23.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Paul Levitz: DC Comics and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Indicia fans will have noticed a new symbol popping up in the fine print of some DC comics in recent weeks, a green emblem proclaiming compliance with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. (Okay, I concede that it may be overstating things to call anyone an indicia fan, but we know some of our readers pay attention to every aspect of our publications.) It’s a good thing, and a useful example of how one person’s focus on an issue can move a large company.

Alison Gill, DC’s Vice President-Manufacturing, is a woman of strong passions: her love of comics led her from the tiny London offices of Marvel U.K. in the 1980s to running production for Marvel Comics in New York, and then uptown to our digs almost a decade ago. Along the way she had to relegate her passion for soccer and find an American sport that could give her a comparable outlet. It’s only a rumor that she personally ripped the seats out of the Montreal Canadians arena that now decorate her office, but however they got there, it’s evidence of serious hockey fandom. She picked up a husband from her Marvel service (like so many of us who found our spouses at the office), and a pack of friends who gathered recently to toast her birthday in the Village. As our manufacturing has grown steadily more complex, with increasingly varied print formats, more rapid turnaround requirements to keep titles in print, overseas plants put to work on DC Direct and some hardcover titles, and rapid cost escalation of raw materials, she’s had plenty to do. But Alison can always find time to talk about paper.

In the past year, she’s had major victories in improving the karma of our company. After years of investigation, negotiation and experimentation, she was able to switch a number of our kids’ titles to a recycled newsprint paper stock, made from 85% post consumer waste and most of the Vertigo line to a recycled hibrite paper that is made from 40% post-consumer waste. And now, she’s in the process of getting our titles to conform to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a program that ensures that participating forest harvesters, paper manufacturers, printers and publishers are using paper which comes from forests that are being managed in a sustainable way -that is, harvested and replanted in a way that ensures they will be there for the future, without damage to the forest’s ecological balance (at least as best it’s currently understood). While many people at DC and our parent companies are committed to environmental issues, this progress is largely Alison’s own. She reacted to concerns raised by environmental activists, did the homework, and found the way to move DC to a better standard of behavior. We still have a long way to go, but she’s working on it…

Superman to Return Again, But Eviler

A darker Superman. Yes, that is the recipe for success that eluded "Superman Returns."

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov indicated the studio intends to explore the darker side of superheroes in future films based on DC Comics properties, also owned by Time Warner. Prompted by the success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman sequel 'The Dark Knight,' which he credits to the profoundly grim tone of the film, Robinov told WSJ’s Lauren A.E. Schucker, 'We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it. That goes for the company's Superman franchise as well.'

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ultimate Mashup Link Collection

Compiled by Simon Iddol, this page is nothing but links to mashups sites, artists and other general information you might (or might not) need. A great starting point for those interested in learning more about this musical style.

Bert and Ernie: Gangsta Trippin'


Saturday, August 23, 2008

BootieSL

Tonight I'll be playing a mashup set at the Parkade club in Second Life as part of the BootieSL bimonthly event. In addition to a DJ playing a mashup set in world, we also feature a live feed from BootieSF the first club in the world dedicated to mashups.

While it is still subject to change, this is the playlist that I am putting together for tonight:

1. World Famous Audio Hacker - A Clear And Present Danger (Copyright Terrorism Intro) (0:59)
2. DJ Schmolli - Mash Me Amadeus (Falco vs. Nelly vs. Luniz vs. Mozart vs. Run-DMC vs. Others) (5:52)
3. DJ Danger Mouse - Justify My Thug (4:12)
4. DJ Zebra - Black Horse and Souljacker (KT Tunstall vs. The Eels) (3:37)
5. DJ Y alias JY - Duffy Train Running (Duffy vs. Doobie Brothers) (4:17)
6. Butch Vig - Sanctuary's Over (4:17)
7. Overdub - Come As The Starlight (Nirvana vs The Superman Lovers) (3:57)
8. The Illuminoids - Solta O Space Frango Woman (Wolfmother vs. MSTRKRFT vs. Bonde Do Role vs. Deep Purple) (3:26)
9. Dj Topcat - The Safety Booty (Bubba Sparxxx vs. Men Without Hats) (4:55)
10. DJ Lobsterdust - Black Acieed (3:03)
11. DJ Smash - Wild Rock Music! (Steppenwolf vs. Apollo 440 vs. Madonna vs. Ike & Tina Turner) (4:07)
12. DJ Moule - Bohemian Thunder (Dandy Warhols vs. AC/DC vs. B-52's) (3:21)
13. DJ Schmolli - Roadhouse Metal (Metallica vs. The Doors) (4:02)
14. DJ Moule - 303 is TNT (AC/DC vs. Fatboy Slim vs. Daft Punk vs. James Brown) (4:58)
15. DJ Peaking - Warning, Rush Where It's At (Big Audio Dynamite Vs. Beck Vs. Green Day) (4:45)
16. Immuzikation - Fish Tacos (Immuzikation ExtraTartarBlend [Coldplay vs. Weezer vs. Cut Copy vs. The Blow vs. M.I.A. vs. Reading Rainbow]) (5:37)
17. Icky - Drive Mashed Watch Bond (2:47)
18. Soundhog - (Are You Gonna Be My) Dirrty Girrl? (Jet vs. Christina Aguilera) (4:07)
19. Carty - Boogie Woogie Candyman (Christina Aguilera vs The Andrews Sisters) [3FM Edit] (4:18)
20. DJ John Mash-Up - Rockin Down The House with Rum & Coca Cola (Andrews Sisters vs MI 7) (4:37)
21. A plus D - Heart Of Puppini (Puppini Sisters vs. Blondie) (2:47)
22. Dr. Waumiau - Where's your URAQT Austin Powers (Quincy Jones vs. M.I.A. vs. Basement Jaxx) (3:57)
23. Loo & Placido - What About Brixton? (4:26)
24. Aggro1 - Superstition Freak (Stevie Wonder vs. Wired All Wrong) (3:24)
25. Loo & Placido - DJ Love Affair (3:52)
26. World Famous Audio Hacker - Can't Cash You Out Of My Head (4:09)
27. Wax Audio - Stayin' Alive In The Wall (Bee Gees vs. Pink Floyd) (3:16)
28. DJ BC - Hustle! (Van McCoy vs. Rick Ross) (4:42)
29. DJ Clive$ter - Pump Up The Convoy (C.W. McCall vs. MARRS) (4:22)
30. The Celebrity Murder Party - We Want Robot Titties (P-Funk vs The Trucks vs Vampire Sound Inc vs Kraftwerk)


If you play Second Life, you can find Parkade here. BootieSL goes from 7pm SLT until 3am SLT.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Portishead and Chuck D


2008 Diana Jones Award Goes To "Grey Ranks" and Wolfgang Baur

Annual Award 'For Excellence in Gaming' Locked in Second-Ever Tie

Indianapolis, 14th August—The 2008 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming has been given to two winners: Grey Ranks (a roleplaying game by Jason Morningstar, published by Bully Pulpit Games) and Wolfgang Baur and his Open Design business model. This is the second time the awards committee has locked into a tie over the winners in its eight years. The winners were announced at a ceremony packed with games industry professionals, from designers to publishers and distributors, held at Jillian’s in Indianapolis at 9 PM on Wednesday 13th August, the day before the opening of the games convention Gen Con Indianapolis.

Jason Morningstar’s roleplaying game of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, Grey Ranks, commands attention for many reasons, but it deserves highest marks for two factors. First, it is a game of inexorable tragedy, sacrifice, coming-of-age, mortality, and self-destruction. These truly mature literary themes are almost unexplored in gaming of any sort, and virtually unseen in roleplaying. If gaming is to approach the other arts in depth and richness, it will be games like Grey Ranks that make such an approach possible. Second, its emotional grid mechanic anchors a solid, powerful rules design that drives such themes home in play. Jason Morningstar has not created a game that lazily appropriates the historical horror at its heart, he has created rules that reveal that horror, rules that re-create that horror in its players’ hearts and minds. Aristotle said that all true tragedy must end in terror and pity. It’s hard to believe that Aristotle never played Grey Ranks.

Open Design began as an experiment in funding the development of roleplaying game supplements. Wolfgang Baur—a highly respected, long-time Dungeons & Dragons editor and designer for TSR and then Wizards of the Coast—went back hundreds of years to dig up the concept of patronage, add a few modern twists to it, and apply it to the problem. He posts a project and publicizes it along with a monetary threshold. When the funding his patrons chip in reaches that threshold, he starts on the project in earnest. Baur supplements his exemplary work by letting his patrons suggest various directions for each project and then allowing them to look over this shoulder as he works. Each project becomes a master-level class on adventure design for those privileged to be a part of it.

Also shortlisted for the Diana Jones Award this year were the Canon Puncture podcast, the Child’s Play charity, the Come Out and Play festival, and Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media edited by Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin by (MIT Press).

Previous winners of the Diana Jones Award include Peter Adkison, former CEO of Wizards of the Coast; Jordan Weisman, former CEO of FASA and Wizkids; the games Sorcerer, Nobilis, My Life with Master and Ticket to Ride; the game supplement The Great Pendragon Campaign; and the generosity of the charity auctions at Irish games conventions.

A fuller description of the history of the Diana Jones Award and its extraordinary trophy, plus details of all the previous winners and shortlists, can be found at the award’s website: www.dianajonesaward.org

More information
For more information on the award, please contact the designated public representatives of the Diana Jones Committee:

Matt Forbeck: matt@forbeck.com
James Wallis: james@erstwhile.demon.co.uk

Reinventing Smallvile with Soulder & Peterson

For the past seven seasons, the team of Al Gough and Miles Millar has been the guiding force behind 'Smallville,' the show they created, based on the Superman characters of DC Comics. At the end of last season they, along with actors Michael Rosenbaum and Kristin Kreuk, left the show to pursue other endeavors. Stepping into the role of showrunners for the latest and possibly final season of 'Smallville' will be four familiar faces to fans of the show: Kelly Souder, Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, and Brian Peterson. Between the foursome, they’ve written over one hundred episodes and have been part of the Smallville' family since season two.

Talking To Guy Davis

An artist’s artist, Guy Davis’ detailed, atmospheric work has adorned many acclaimed projects, including Sandman Mystery Theatre, Baker Street, The Nevermen and of course his long run as artist on BPRD at Dark Horse.

But many fans consider his best work on his creator-owned series The Marquis. The violent and disturbing tale of Vol de Galle, a demon-hunter in the time of the Inquisition, who finds himself with the ability to see the real demons surrounding him. But the Marquis’ quest threatens his own sanity, and leads him into ever greater depths of darkness, including one of the most disturbing visions of Hell seen in comics or any medium.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hive Five: Five Best FTP Clients

Whether you do you work on the web, run a home FTP server, or you just prefer a quick download from time to time, a solid, full-featured FTP client can be lifesaver. You've got tons of options--both free and shareware--for your FTP needs, so finding the right FTP client can be difficult. On Tuesday you shared your favorite FTP clients, and today we're back with the five most popular choices. Read on for a detailed look at the five best FTP clients for your money, then cast your vote for the app you like best.

Tampa Bay (FLA) Area Gamers

I started a group like this in Cleveland, and it was pretty successful for me (and others of course) to meet other gamers in the area. I figured that starting a system / setting / group agnostic list might serve the same purpose in the Tampa area. We'll see.

Are you a role-player in the Tampa bay area? Join up and find other gamers.

This is a networking group for role-players in the Tampa Bay area (including but not limited to Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach and many others) who want a method for finding other gamers and coming together with gaming groups.

Tampa Bay Gamers will organize meet and greet events that will allow gamers to meet each other in non-gaming situations so that they can see if other gamers would be a good fit for their campaigns and style of play.

Since this group is about meeting with other gamers and having discussion about play, it is preferred that members have their group settings so that they will receive some form of email notices from the group. Remember, you only get out of a group like this what you put into it so active membership is a plus!

Braunstein: the Roots of Roleplaying Games

In 2005 I was standing near the registration booths at GenCon, flipping through the event catalog while the posse debated where to go first. I had already scoured the listings online, but as I glanced across the pages I spotted a word I had somehow missed before: Braunstein.

I knew what Braunstein was (sort of) so I dragged my whole crew to the far, far outer reaches of the con, to a seminar in a very quiet room with very few attendants. And we sat, and we listened.

What did I know that made me drag them all that way?

I knew that Braunstein was the world’s first roleplaying game. Ever.

Most gamers have never heard of Braunstein. Sad but true. In the hierarchy of self-awareness you’ll find the circle of gamers who know what D&D is (a very, very large circle), then inside of that is the circle of gamers who know what Greyhawk is (large but smaller), and inside that the circle who knows what Blackmoor is (smaller still). And then in the very center, vanishingly small, are the people who’ve heard of Braunstein. Which is a pity, because Braunstein is the granddaddy of them all.

The Legion At 50: Paul Levitz Interview

In his role as president and publisher of DC Comics, Paul Levitz would know a thing or two about the Legion of Super-Heroes. The team of super-powered teens from 1,000 years in the future has been an important group of characters for DC Comics since it was introduced in 1958 and is the focus of this week's Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds event.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wizards Announces New Organizational Alignment

Wizards of the Coast today announced new organizational alignment to focus on key growth strategies for core brands.

'As a company, we will continue to be the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer,' said Greg Leeds, President of Wizards of the Coast. 'Re-aligning resources ensures we achieve this goal for our most powerful brands.'

While restructuring results in some job eliminations, Wizards of the Coast is actively recruiting to fill open positions in multiple areas of the company.

'Organizational change is always difficult on those impacted,' said Leeds. 'But we will take great care in the transition, and continue to invest in the growth of the business, specifically innovation for our Magic and Dungeons & Dragons fans.'

Thailand says it will deport Glitter to Britain

Thai immigration police said on Wednesday they would deport shamed glam rocker Gary Glitter to London 'as soon as possible' despite his claims of health problems preventing him from flying.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, flew to Bangkok on Tuesday, having been kicked out of Vietnam at the end of nearly three years in jail for child sex abuse.

He refused to board an onward flight to London, claiming ear and heart problems, but Thai police said they were not convinced.

'We are barring entry to Paul Francis Gadd and will be deporting him to his home country, England, unconditionally and even if he does not wish to board the plane,' police said in a statement.

'We are now waiting to return him to England as soon as possible.'

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hollow Earth Expeditions: Secrets of the Surface World Wins ENnie

Hollow Earth Expeditions is a great game, and frankly they cranked up the setting a lot with the release of Secrets of the Surface World this past year. Mysteries of the Hollow Earth is something that I am REALLY looking forward to getting into my grubby little hands.

Congratulations to Jeff and all folks at Exile Games Studio for their win last night at the ENnies. Sitting in the back of the room must be a winner.

If you haven't checked out HEX and its supplement yet, and you're a fan of the Pulps, you really need to get out and find yourself a copy. They're here at GenCon with a great booth that you really can't miss.

Maid RPG

This game is going to be my big thing for a while. It is, by far, the best purchase of new or old material at this convention. I will be talking more about Maid as time goes on but for now I wanted to get something up and out there so that people could start seeing something about this wonderful game.

It's a Japanese game and you play maids in it. Yeah, totally not for everybody, but as I read through the book last night I couldn't go a couple of pages without coming across some idea for a game that I wanted to run.

Once I get a chance to do some actual play I'll be even happier but this is a game that people need to check out, and I am going to be talking about it for a while.

Seriously, be an early adopter. They are nearly out of their GenCon copies. If you are here and can't get one, you need to follow the above link and get this as soon as you can.

Ewen and Andy K did a great job with getting this together and out the door. Now, once Andy gets Tenra Bansho Zero out the door things will be even cooler (hopefully I'll get to play a demo tonight at the RPGnet meetup).

They're really raising the bar with anime RPGs with these releases, and frankly it is lighting a fire under my ass to crank up the greatness with HeartQuest. I think that the game is on, ladies and gentlemen...

GenCon: First Posting!OK

OK, so.....I've not been posting from GenCon. Bad me. However, I've been pretty busy and having so fun. So, if you aren't here and were hoping to live vicariously through me I guess that you will just have to deal.

Some highlights thus far:

* Paizo sold out of the Beta version of Pathfinder RPG yesterday. I think that this is a pretty big thing, also considering that Paizo led a sweep of the ENnies last night (most tellingly in the free product category for the Pathfinder RPG dowload).

* Yesterday I picked up what is the new purchase highlight of the con for me: Ewen Cluney's translation of the Maid RPG. Defintiely not for everybody but is a cool game. I will most likely be blogging about it more later.

* The Green Ronin booth rocked. They've got so many cool new things that I just can't decide what I want. Despite the cover art snobs on RPGnet, I think that the Wild Cards looks great. Of course, I am a big fan of the books so I am the target audiences. Saw Steve Kenson, and he is as nice as ever. I also met Chris Pramas in passing for the first time.

All in all, it has been a fun con and I've enjoyed my first GenCon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Friend's London Trip


An online friend of my went to London recently and posted a diary of her trip. I thought it looked really cool.

Oh, and check out her blog here.

ECC @ Ingenuity Cleveland wrap-up


The Evolution Control Committee show was the highpoint for me of this year's Cleveland Ingenuity festival. I'm happy to see that they linked to my photos on Flickr and mentioned me by name.

A video that I shot (my first with my camera so it is a little shaky) is up on their video page as well.
Ingenuity Fest Cleveland 2008 was a grand success, and The ECC had a couple very successful and well-attended shows there, debuting new lights on the Thimbletron, new music, and more.


Very cool, and thanks for a great set!

The ENnie Awards - Voting Page

The voting is open now for next year's ENnie judges. These folks do a pretty good job of things, and they are a good bunch of people. Dorkland, like last year, supports the judgeship of Zachary Houghton. He's a dedicated gamer, a good guy and takes his judging very seriously.
Welcome to the 2008 ENnies voting booth. On this screen you will see the nominees for the 2009 ENnies Judges. Voting for the 2009 Judge Panel runs August 10th to August 15th.

Before voting, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the applicants. A complete listing of the nominees is available at http://www.ennieawards.com/voting.html

For this ballot, you can vote for a single candidate or all the candidates. If you wish to vote for more than one person order them appropriately by placing your first choice on the first ballot, your second choice on the second and so on. The computer discards duplicate ballots.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Blue Dragon TCG Uses Roleplaying Mechanic

Konami's new Blue Dragon TCG (see 'Konami Gets Blue Dragon TCG Rights'), which it was demoing at San Diego Comic-Con, will use a roleplaying mechanic and carry the official title of the Blue Dragon Role Playing Card Game (RPCG). Players battle against each other using Command and Skill Cards, attempting to gain Experience in the game to learn new abilities, level up, and execute attacks.